Blue and White Game Report

The annual Blue and White game saw good, but not great, production on both sides of the ball. The spring game saw little offensive or defensive fireworks, but solid and efficient execution as the team capped off its spring practice at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"We came out and executed well, but we didn't get it in the end zone," said quarterback Max Hall. "I was really mad about that. I'm a competitive guy and when you move the ball, which we did, it's fine, but it doesn't mean much if you don't get it in. So that's something we definitely need to make sure we do every time out there."

"That's what we do defensively," said linebacker Kelly Poppinga. "We'll give up yards here and there, but when it's time to step up we step it up. It's about giving up points and holding guys out of the end zone. We did that today."

First Series

-Max Hall got the first series of reps and completed both of his passes for 35 yards, which came courtesy of a 24-yard pass to tight end Andrew George and then an 11-yard pass to receiver Ryan Neely.

-The series ended with defensive lineman Russell Tialavea forcing a fumble by Wayne Latu, which was recovered by linebacker Markell Staffieri.

"We were able to cause some turnovers, which is always something we're trying to do," said Poppinga. "I was happy with Markell getting that fumble on the first series. It set a good tone for the rest of the day."

Second Series

-Cade Cooper got the next set and had two fumbled snaps in a row. While trying to recover the second one, Cooper sustained an ankle injury that put him on crutches for the rest of the game.

"I hated to see Cade go down," said Hall. "I like Cade a lot and I'm glad he's in the program pushing me. He's a very good competitor and he's a good friend."

Third Series

-Hall moved the ball well on his second set, going 5-6 for 44 yards. George again caught the long pass on the set for 18 yards, while Bryce Mahuika caught three passes for 17 yards during the series.

-On the final play, cornerback Brandon Howard broke very well on an out pattern that he should have picked off and taken the other way for a touchdown.

"I tell these guys all the time that I can catch, but they don't believe me," said Howard about dropping the would-be interception. "Man, I needed to get that. I broke on it perfectly, just didn't catch that, but I'll make sure I catch it when it counts. We'll be doing it this fall and that's when it counts."

-Mitch Payne had more than enough leg on his field goal attempt for 46 yards, but it went just wide.

Fourth Series

-Brenden Gaskins then got the next set in place of the injured Cooper and did well, going 6-7 for 50 yards

-Both Dan Van Sweden and Brett Denney recorded sacks during the set, which ended with a 27-yard field goal by Payne.

"We didn't even want to give up three points," said Poppinga. "But we still held them out of the end zone for the most part, which was good."

Fifth Series

-Hall then went 4-4 for just 19 yards on the next set. The set ended with a 37-yard punt from Payne.

"We didn't go deep today at all, which you always want to do as a quarterback," said Hall. "The coaches kept it pretty conservative, working on short execution, which is good as we got a lot of work done with that."

Sixth Series

-Gaskins went 5-6 for 42 yards, seeing some good success again on his second set. The set ended with Mitch Payne coming up just a bit short and wide on a 52-yard field goal attempt.

-Defensive lineman Matt Putnam had the defensive highlight on the set, sacking Gaskins.

Seventh Series

-Hall went 4-7 for 41 yards and an interception on his final series of reps for the day. Hall threw his pick when the offense had first-and-goal from the one. Kellen Fowler picked off the pass up the middle as Hall was falling back to avoid the rush.

"I can't do that," said Hall regarding his interception. "It was just a bad read and a bad play on my part. We were about to score and I made a mistake. I can't do that and I'll learn from it."

Eighth Series

-Gaskins then led the offense to its sole touchdown of the day, going 8-10 for 82 yards. The touchdown coming on a 5-yard completion to Reed White.

From the Stands

Offensive and Defensive leaders John Beck and Cameron Jensen both watched the game from the stands, which isn't exactly where they wanted to be. Both were impressed with their respective offensive and defensive units which they led a season ago.

"You know what? This offense is going to be really good," said Beck. "They weren't able to score maybe like they wanted to today, but when they get guys like Fui [Vakapuna] and Manase [Tonga] back in there they'll be fine. The execution was good and I was impressed."

"The whole stadium went quiet for a lot of the game because the defense held them out for the most part," said Jensen. "But I wasn't one of those guys who was quiet. I was jumping up and down and cheering hard for the defense. They did very well today."

Ever since spring started, Beck has been impressed with the quarterbacks and their progression and overall abilities. Having moved on, Beck is confident that whoever the next quarterback will be will find success.

"There's just so many good guys in the program now," said Beck. "They really have everything in place to be successful. I've been impressed with both Max and Cade from what I've seen. They can play. They're both smart and they're good. Max of course has to be good; he's a Mountain View Toro [high school both Beck and Hall graduated from]."

"The defense is going to dominate this year," said Jensen. "Guys like Pop [Poppinga] and Bryan Kehl, those guys were great last year and now they're even better. The defense will be every bit as good as it was last year, if not better.

Another sideline observer who wanted to be in there was wide receiver Austin Collie. TBS caught up with Collie to learn of his thoughts on his spring and his goals for next season.

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